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Poor air plagues 90% of cities

(Shanghai Daily)

13:23, March 30, 2013

Fog and smog shroud streets and buildings in Beijing, capital of China, March 8, 2013. (Xinhua/Chen Shugen)

NEARLY 90 percent of China's major cities including Shanghai have poor or extremely poor air quality, according to a report by the environmental school of Renmin University of China.

Experts from the School of Environmental and Natural Resources of the university evaluated air quality data of 281 cities across China from 2005 to 2010 and reached the conclusion that the bulk of the most developed cities have poor air quality. More than 46 percent of residents in those cities are unsatisfied with air quality.

The evaluation is based on an analysis of density of particles smaller than 10 microns in diameter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the air. More than 89 percent of the cities have poor to extremely poor air quality while 10.67 percent had better air quality according to the system. Most of the cities in the 10.67 percent with better air are less developed. Among the 89.33 percent cities with poor air quality, most are industrial or have central heating provided by the government.

The report said China's air pollution control lagged behind its economic development and the situation is getting worse.

"Air quality can be improved through regulations and administration. The fast-developing cities where the air quality is fast declining should think more about it," said Ma Zhong, dean of Renmin University's environmental school.

Most cities in Liaoning, Shandong and Shanxi provinces ranked in the lower 30 percent of cities. Baiyin and Lanzhou in Gansu Province and Urumqi in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region were the most polluted.

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